2014 GMC Sierra 1500 First Canadian Drive: Day 3

Freed from a 3-tonne trailer, the 2014 GMC Sierra handles much smaller than its dimensions belie. Eight cylinders of fun (you can buy a V6 engine but no one has ever lamented, “I coulda had a V6”) deliver the 383 lb-ft of torque soon enough after the foot goes down.

It’s not a bullet, more like an attentive steam train. The braking is decently palpable too—between the suspension and engine, there was never any out-of-touch feeling. So never was there the need to truly test the brakes with a heavy thrust. (The reader is reminded that we all had guests who may not appreciate we auto writers doing our usual stomach-lurch tests.)

We drove a long stretch of two-way highway through rural Alberta on our return to Calgary. It’s scenic and the roads were awash, no longer in overflowing rivers, but Winnebagos and other trucks with trailers. Passing these convoys of greying adventurers, we attained speeds you simply wouldn’t expect of a big truck—but the ride was smooth and, being so high up, not noticeable at first. It felt at least 25% slower. Conditions were dry and clear, so no harm done. Still: watch your foot, Mario.

GMC’s intention is woo the whole family. They already proved that the Sierra can handle plenty of work (see previous entries) but what about the obligatory bling that would make this a weekender’s first choice?

The available leather driver’s seat is programmable and both are heated. The knobs and dials are tactile and chunky for easy grip, even with gloves. Speaking of which, the steering wheel is heated.

It was a quiet ride, which made the satellite radio a welcome diversion.

There’s storage space throughout the cabin and you can lift the backbench for more. They expect the users to have multiple devices. So you can have up to five USB ports, four 12-volt outlets, and a 110-volt outlet.

When we arrived back in Calgary it was still early, so the traffic hadn’t heated up yet. Still there was less space to maneuver. The Sierra’s sightlines are good and with the many efficient warning systems defaulting, it’s easy to maintain awareness of your girth.

At our final destination, the hotel up the street from the Stampede grounds, we had to diagonally back into a parking space while three lanes of downtown traffic moved along. Such a space test provides an excellent challenge to both driving skills and vehicle agility (not to mention pedestrian alertness). The Sierra swung well into two lanes of traffic before I could get the angle but the reverse camera took us home easily on the first pass.

Howdy, Cowtown!

Missed Part One? Check it out here. Part Two? Right here.

Though a co-owner and former editor of DailyXY, Steven Bochenek is actually an advertising writer who does some journalism on the side. In 2011 he was accepted into the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His other interests include playing music, long-distance running, skiing and writing in the third person.

Photo courtesy of the author. 

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